tv Face the Nation CBS October 7, 2012 8:30am-9:00am PDT
>> today on "face the nation," what a difference a debate makes. new jersey governor chris christie may be many things, but after his appearance on "face the nation," he can claim a new one, prophet. >> schieffer: to hear the president's friends tell it, it wasn't that obama wasn't so good-- >> it's like mitt romney wasn't there. >> schieffer: the pounding came from every corner. explanations fill the airwaves. former vice president al gore thought maybe it was the altitude. >> when you go to 5,000 feet-- >> exactly. >> and you only have a few hours to adjust-- >> that's interesting. >> i don't know, maybe-- >> schieffer: david letterman thought the problem ran deeper. >> and the number one president obama excuse, it's bush's
fault. >> schieffer: the president's top vast gist, david axelrod, is with us this morning. we'll ask him about it. and we'll hear from conservative columnist john fund and michael gerson of the "washington post." analysis from our own norah o'donnell and john dickerson. then with the baseball post-accept under way and washington's team headed to the play-offs for the first time in 79 years, we'll talk baseball with the dodgers' legendary tony larussa, tony lasorda, manager of last year's world-champion st. louis cardinals. jane leavy, who literally wrote the book on mickey mantle. and peter gammons of the mlb network. it's batter up on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer.
>> schieffer: and good morning, again. welcome to peacethe nation. david axelrod, of course, is a senior campaign strategist, the senior campaign strategist for president obama. thank you for coming this morning. and we're joined by "cbs this morning" cohost norah o'donnell, and political director john dickerson. i'm just going to start, mr. axelrod, with the obvious question-- what happened? >> well, what happened was the president showed up with the intent of answering questions and having a discussion, an honest discussion about where we go as a country, and governor romney showed up to deliver a performance, and he delivered a very good performance. it was completely unrooted in fact. it was completely unrooted in the position he's taken before, and he spent 90 minutes trying to undo two years of campaigning. he did very well. >> schieffer: are you saying governor romney lied or was dishonest? >> yeah, i think he was dishonest, absolutely. when he said he never proposed deadline 5 trillion in tax cutes, that was dishonest.
he said on the broadcast to 70 million americans, "i will repeal obamacare but i will still be able to cover people with preexisting conditions," and 10 minutes after the debate he sent someone into the press room to say, well, you know, he didn't really mean that. he today i want more teachers. i love teachers. it was just a few weeks ago when he stood on a platform and chastised the president for saying we need more teachers. he said, "we don't need more teachers. we don't need more government." yes, i'm saying he was dishonest. >> schieffer: would you go so far as to say lied. >> i'm saying he was dishonest with his intrpz you can characterize that any way you want. >> schieffer: why didn't the president bring up the famous 47% videotape? >> the president, obviously, didn't see the appropriate opportunity. i mean, i think the president was earnestly trying to answer the questions that was asked on the topics that were being discussed and he didn't fiend the opportunity to raise it. and it's obviously well known. we've been discussing it for a
wrong time. i think all of america knows about that. so i-- >> schieffer: i bring that up because the very next night when he was on fox, romney himself brought it up, or at least talked about it. here's what he said. >> in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. in this case i said something that's just completely wrong. >> schieffer: so he said-- what does that mean? >> that was astonishing for a whole number of reasons. the first was three weeks ago he was asked the same question and he stood by the essence of what he said. but when you look at that tape that was behind closed doors, it wasn't just a comment. it wasn't just a word. it was a whole exposition. afs an and a on how 47% of the country were shiftless, people who wouldn't take personal responsibility for themselves. he slammed half the country and to say, whoops, i misspoke, is a little unconvincing.
as i watched that tape and i waw of watched the debate it reminded me of burns-- all you need in show business is sincerity and if you can fake that, you've got it made." that's what governor romney has been around this week. >> when you say he was dishonest and you went through the series of things where you think mitt romney was dishonest, why didn't the president make that point in the debate? >> well, the president, as said, norah, the president there was to answer questions that was asked and to discuss the future of the country as he saw it. but, look, i also-- i will be honest with you. i think he was a little taken aback at the-- at the brazenness with which governor romney walked away from so many of the positions on which he's run, walked away from his record. and, you know, that's something we're going to have to make an adjustment for in these subsequent debates. >> reporter: you admit you were surprised by that. presidents surprised by that. >> i think anybody would be. it takes a certain-- as president clinton would say-- it takes a certain brass to do what
governor romney did. this is what he used to do in private business. he was the closer at bain capital, and the basic theory is say whatever you need to, to get the deal and that's what he did that night. >> romney said that wasn't the case. the president just didn't do his homework. >> the president did plenty of homework. the difference is governor romney went to give a performance. he gave eye good performance. homework entails internalizing facts. governor romney was about the business of distorting them, and ignoring them. >> reporter: let me ask you about the facts, on the taxes question. you say governor romney wasn't truthful. but was that-- you know, he's making a promise. he's saying we're going to have 20% tax reductions and we're going to make that up with loophole closures. you may say that's unrealistic but it's not-- >> john, he said 20% personal income tax deductions. earlier in the year he said for upper income people as well as everyone else. he changed that now.
he said 30% tax cuts on corporate taxes and he has a series of other tax cuts he's promised that add up to $4.8 trillion. he cannot name one loophole that he would close. if you took away all the loopholes for upper-income americans, every single one of them, he would still be trillions of dollarss short. me has to sock it to the middle class or explode the deficit. > deficit. >> reporter: what you're saying it it is unrealistic-- >> i'm saying it's impossible, not unrealistic. >> when president obama said in 2008 i'm going to cut the deficit in half, i'm going to close guilt me, people-- gitmo, people said-- did not sigh he was not telling the truth. >> closing gitmo involved congress and he couldn't get them to do that. the math, people over $200,000, and you still have a trillions
of dollars hole, and he hasn't named the deductions he would close. this is a shell game, john. whichever shell you pick up, the middle class loses. the economy will lose, and i think that this is going to catch up with him. >> schieffer: what did the president think of his performance? >> i think the president understands-- you know, the president is his harshest critic, and without getting into detail, i think you can assume he has reviewed the tape and it will inform how he handles these subsequent debates. >> schieffer: do you think he was ill prepared. some are saying it was the people who prepared him. you were in the room. >> i was one of the people who prepared him. i'm happy to take whatever responsibility people assign to me. i think it was more what he said. i think he went thinking this is going to be a discussion about the country's future and he was confronted with this gantry-esque performance on the other side, serially rewriting history. >> schieffer: what did you
say, as in elmer gantry? >> reporter: you talked about there were issues in this debate. it was suppose to be a debate, where there were some areas of perhaps facts that the president-- or his side didn't get out. what about stylistically. some people have questioned why the president was frequently looking at his notes? what was he writing and will he look at mitt romney in the future? what was the decision behind that? >>un the president was taking notes on what was being said because he wanted to make sure that he was responsive. you know, again, i think that from a stylistic standpoint, the president is, as i said, is his harshest critic. he'll look at that tape and make the adjustments that he thinks necessary. >> schieffer: if the debate was bad news for your folks, you did get some good news toward the end of the week. >> the country got some good news, bob. >> schieffer: the country did get some good news. and that is the unemployment ticked down below 8% for the
first time. what do you think the impact of that is going to be? do you see that as significant? or-- you know, some people are saying the books were cooked. that it really the numbers weren't accurate. >> they can join the lunatic fringe of birthers with that. every single respectable economist has said that is completely nuts. and it was completely nuts. and i understand that for someone who support governor romney, it was disappointing that the economy is improving, that that number ticked down, but for the country it was very good news. and i think what it does do is rob governor romney of one of the talking points you heard in the last debate. you know, for months he was running around the country saying the president-- this president's lost jobs. well, no, now we've net gained jobs under this present. dwe need more but we created 5.2 million in the last 31 months. and, obviously, this ticking down to where we were on january of 2009 is a significant milestone. but we have to keep going. our point is we can't go back to
the policies that created the mess in the first place. whether he wants to deny it now or not, that is what governor romney is proposing. >> reporter: when bad jobs report comes out or ones that have been relatively weak, members of the president's team have said,un, people's views about the economy are kind of baked into cake. why, if they're not going to react to weak jobs reports -- as a political matter-- people suddenly feel better just because the numbers change. >> i'm not suggesting here this is going to cause a sea change. this is a very stable race. we always thought it was going to be a close race, but i think it wanings this argument that governor romney's clung to. and governor romney is so determined it take every-- every development and fit it into this rubric that he wants to paint, and i don't know talk the economy down-- we have a lot of work to do. we have to move forward. we have to accelerate this recovery, but the fact swe're in a much different place than we
were when the president walked in. we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, and part of it is the things he did, like intervening to save the american auto industry, which despite what governor romney said on the stage, he opposed. he opposed government intervention and without that intervention the auto companies would have collapsed. and everyone in the auto industry agrees with that. >> schieffer: mr. axelrod, thank you. we'll be back in a minute with our political rounditably.
>> schieffer: and we've added two people to the table, columnist michael gerson of the "washington post," and john fund of the "national review" who has written a book called, "who's counting-- how fraudsters and bureaucrats put your vete risk." john and norah are still with us, of course. let me start with you, michael. why do you think he didn't bring
up the 47%? that seems to me the question everybody in washington is kicking around these days. >> i have a suspicion about the president's performance because i saw it myself in 2004, when i helped prepare george w. bush for his debate, the first big debate against john kerry. he had not debated in four years. he knew all the facts, but he hadn't been sharp fling the argumentes, youun the three points here, the three points here, the offense and the defense. i think something like that took place in this case. the president has not debated in four years. it was a wake-up call. i think he'll do better the next time, but i think it would be hard to do worst. >> schieffer: best hitters always have to take batting practice, and maybe he needed some batting practice. john, do you think mitt romney has gone to the etch a sketch here? is he still the conservative he was when he was running against rick santorum and some of those folks or did he actually move to the middle during this debate? >> certainly there was some rhetoric moving to the middle. but remember, mitt romney has
one advantage with his conservative base-- his opponent is barack obama. and barack obama has already demonstrated through executive orders and all kinds of things that he will have a very activist second term. so regardless of what misgivings some people might have about mitt romney if you're a conservative, barack obama's second term would be a disaster. >> schieffer: i want to ask both of you. you were here. you heard david axelrod, who i must say came off pretty strong this morning. nobody's going to accuse him of sleeping through his seg a segment here. where do you think things are right now, john? >> i think the president's team is saying this was all a show. this was artifice and fakery in the 90 minutes of debate and at his core mitt romney is dishonest. it got a new coming out of the campaign, that's the charge they're making, that he is not telling the truth in the attempts to get back at the central character question here, which is at the center of this debate. we know both candidates have
said we're going to have to shrink government. there's a difference between the promises of what government makes and what people are willing to pay for and at the end of the day who is going to make that decision? the president is. and are you going to trust them. >> schieffer: am i the only one who knows who gantry is. >> that'sa bit of a stretch. elmer gant revis a creep. mitt romney is a very successful businessed man, has had a fine career, a fine family. look, both candidates, i think told things that stretched the truth. mitt romney with the preexisting conditions. remember barack obama said his independent advisory panel on medicare wasn't going to make any decisions on treatment. it has unilateral power, unless congress overrides it with a super majority, to basically tell all doctors and hospitals this is how much money you have to treat people. that is incredible power. it is effectively the power to ration health care. i think the president was stretching the truth in and a big part of obamaed care, which,
by the way, remains very unpopular. >> schieffer: norayou have covered all these people. you have interviewed all of them. where do you see this right now? where do you see this going? >> reporter: well, mitt romney energized not justs had supporters of republicans and conservatives across the country, but even his own campaign, who i think having talked to them acknowledged they had trouble with their own message, that they had been sort of chasing the shiny penny, as one adviser put it today, that they feel like they've had a reset button, if you will. they certainly also feel like they've got an opportunity now to focus on different sorts of issues. on monday, mitt romney is going to give a major speech at v.m.i. on foreign policy. he will attack the president on what has happened in libya. they are considering a big economic speech. they're also considering a big deficit speech. there are some people who are deep in policy who say maybe mitt romney should have done this before these big policy speeches that ridiculous missing from the campaign. but you soo a campaign that is trying to shift on this issue and feels engilessed by it.
as for obama's team i think it was in some ways a wake-up call, and a wake-up call for the president. i thought david axelrod today was incredibly frank saying the president has watched the tape. the president is his own toughest critic and there will be significant changes on substance and style in their next debate. >> schieffer: the next debate, of course, is the vice presidential debate, michael. what are you hearing about that? >> well, it's going to be an interesting match-up. you know, i think it's a preview of the presidential debate. because joe biden now, because of the way that barack obama failed by being too passive, biden is going to have to be aggressive in this debate. that's not an easy thing to capitol hill bright. you cato calibrate. you can go overboard. he's opposing a young, earnest guy, so it's not an easy thing to do. biden has been through this many times. paul ryan has never been on a stage this large. and i remember during the
convention, in the first 10 minutes of his convention speech, he was really nervous. so you know -- it's not sure how this will come out. >> sarah palin had never been on a national stage when she debated joe biden and the consensus is she had a draw. joe biden i think has had a long, distinguished career, but he's become a little rusty and a little excitable on the campaign trail. >> schieffer: what do you think paul ryan has to do here? i'm sure no one would advise him to take the tack that sarah palin did, because while she caused a lot of talk, i think in the end, she was not a plus for that campaign. you may disagree, but-- >> she fought joe biden to a draw. i think paul ryan has to address some specific questions about his budget plan, but he also has to make it clear that it's hiss budget plan. m.v.p mitt romney's plan is the one that will be implemented in the white house and you can't sayeg in the ryan plan is automatically going to be in the romney plan. >> schieffer: well, mitt romney has said it won't be. >> exactly.
but think a lot of what joe biden is going to say is whatever paul ryan has ever said is going to be what mitt romney said. that's not the case. >> i still think you have an incredible economic debate to have in this country. i think there are great issues to talk about and i think this will continue in the vice presidential debate. >> schieffer: not to mention the job numbers. >> reporter: exactly. the word "fiscal cliff" was never mentioned in the first debate as will likely come up, i sawcial in the vice presidential debate. and you do have an important argument to have, which is is the future of this country and the size and spending of government. and you have two dip candidates proposalsing vastly different things. tax reform has to be done because of this fiscal cliff. mitt romney is proposing not only keeping the bush tax cuts but a 20% reduction for everyone. president obama is proposing to get rid of the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest americans but keep them for middle and lower class. where did the money come from? this $5 trillion argument that both campaigns have new ads out on today. they should debate this.
they're go head to head on this issue so the american people have a good understanding and both sides are calling-- >> in 1986 we had bipartisan tax reform. we had a tax reform that lowered the rate, got rid of a lot of keductions, and over the next 15 years, revenue poured into the federal government. and there was no increase in the deficit overall. because the tax reform made our economy more efficient and creating-- >> it's also fair to say it's not just a debate to call someone a liar. >> exactly. exactly. >> you can a what mitt romney is offering is unisraeliistic, but that's different than saying he's dishonest. >> he's had advisers say maybe it won't be 20%. one of his key advisers said maybe it has to be lower. you can play with various parts of the plan to make it work. that's what the debate has to be about. >> that's right. the top economic adviser said we have two goals. one is deficit reduction, and one is marginal rates. if it comes in conflict, the
rates might not go down as much. i think john made an interesting point about what romney did. in emphasis during the debate, he talked about on tax cuts there are going to be tax cuts to the middle class. when medicare is fixed under his plan. he didn't talk about premium support or vouchers which some conservatives would have liked. he talked about the fact that the middle class will be okay but maybe upper income people will have to take some pain on the medicare fix on what he is proposing. he kept the focus on the middle class. andio biden has to say, if we're going to have a debate on the middle class, here is what romney and ryan are proposing that the hurt will middle class. >> schieffer: do you think mitt romney changed minds? >> i think so. i think he punctured a stereotype in front of 70-some million people. i think it's important. i think as i heard said, he stopped losing this election. he didn't win the election. there's still a lot to do. >> he opened people's minds.
there's a month to go. people are paying more attention in the last few weeks. people will give him a second look. >> schieffer: thanks to all of you. very, very interesting. and back in a moment with my thoughts. we're sitting on a bunch of shale gas. there's natural gas under my town. it's a game changer. ♪ it means cleaner, cheaper american-made energy. but we've got to be careful how we get it. design the wells to be safe. thousands of jobs. use the most advanced technology to protect our water. billions in the economy. at chevron, if we can't do it right, we won't do it at all. we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. ♪ we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term. when we got married. i had three kids. and she became the full time mother of three. it was soccer, and ballet, and cheerleading, and baseball.
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so great now, politicians spend as little time as possible in washington so they're all strangers. worse, they avoid people in the other party after hours. they don't want the folks back home to think they hobnob with the enemy. what has happened here reflects the rigid partisan divide that grips the country, which brings me to these debates. they become one of the few events left that partisans from both sides will actually watch. there are not many undecides this year, but when the debates come along, partisans from both sides will actually tolerate hearing the other side of the story. that's a rare thing these days. but somehow or another, i think it's a good thing. back in a minute. maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment?
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at hp we don't just believe in the power of technology. we believe in the power of people when technology works for you. to dream. to create. to work. if you're going to do something. make it matter. >> schieffer: some of our stations are leaving us now. for most of you we'll be back with an all-star baseball panel, including former dodger manager tony lasorda and dan hurd: when i was a child, california was a leader in education funding. erika derry: and the fact that california isn't making it a priority frustrates me. dan hurd: i'm ashamed of that, and i don't want this to continue for my daughter. brenda kealing: prop 38 is going to bring a lot of money to our schools.